dal niente

Month: March, 2006

Does it pay to be ‘crazy’?

At the base of all mad science is a question
about society—moreover, a drive to break out of the conventions of
society.  The mad scientist searches to
discover a secret, often ignoring ethical considerations and feeling he is
above the law.  Most of the time he
considers himself superior to the average person, which allows him to
rationalize these privledges.  The experiments
often step into the realm of playing God. 
But all mad science invariably ends with the death of the
scientist—society rejects the proposed additions to their established order, or
nature rejects the abberations, and the scientist is punished by death.  It doesn’t matter whether the scientist’s
intentions were good or bad—but invariably, something says in more or fewer
words that the world was not ready for their innovation.  The Invisible Man, Dr. Faust, Henry Jekyll,
Victor Frankenstien—what they hold in common was that they had all pioneered
something that revealed something about human nature, and in response, their
stories all ended in trajedy for their discoveries.

“You don’t have to agree with me, but the alternatives are wrong.”

Someone said something that really bugged me today.  It’s not the
title of this post.  But it has to do a lot with potential, of
‘fixing’ humanity.

At the end of the day– what do you put your values on?

What does freedom mean to you?  Being unemployed? Being rich?  Being on an empty island and being alone?

What does happiness mean?  Does it mean freedom?  Or does it mean having to never make any choices?

The problem with humanity is that there are too many people who think they can’t make a difference.

Why is ‘the process’ more important than ‘the result’?  And why must a distinction be drawn as to the ‘goal’?

What’s ‘morally better’?  To sell cigarettes?  Or to sell nicoderm patches and chewing gum?

Arguably, the usual result of cigarettes is people die of lung
complications.  The usual result of nicoderm patches are to get
people off cigarettes.

But what’s the goal?  Do pharmaceuticals really advance because
their goal is to help people?  Or does it just so happen that
helping people makes good money?

Wherever you are in life right now, as in your successes, your
progress, your ambitions and accomplishments– that is okay.  You
can draw a scale from 0 to 100% and even if you’re at zero, it doesn’t
matter– as long as you’re adding that fraction on to it everyday, as
long as you are trying to be that ‘better person’, then that’s okay.

In the end, you have to decide what is the point of your existence.  Do you exist for yourself?  Or for others?

It is undeniable that when you die, you die alone– as much as there
can be people by your bedside, the act of dying is something that you
ourself will have to face.  A living person will never understand
what it means to die– only what it means to be left behind.

And so what does your life mean to you?  Does it stop with your life?  Will you accept to be so easily forgotten?

When people think about making a difference, often they’re thinking
fame in the popular sense.  But to have your influences live on in
your accomplishments doesn’t require that everyone know about it–
there are, in fact, many more unsung heroes out there than there are
sung ones.  You do not have to be someone particular– virtue is
independant of your job, your income, your religion, where you live,
the color of your skin or whatever.  The only criteria for virtue
is effort.  Bad things happen when good people do nothing.

One of the conflicts in my mind has always been on the idea of a
‘passion’ and ‘a calling’.  My passions change from time to
time.  But my calling has largely remained the same– that is to
influence the course humanity’s steps, hopefully to take a few in the
right direction.  I won’t live to see many of the differences I
make.  But if I am to die some day, this is the only way that I
can be immortal.

The thing about passions is that they’re emotional things– you do
them, basically, because you feel like it.  But your calling…
it’s not so easily shaken.  Its something you can rationalize to
yourself– at least, I can.

…. you know what, for all the long posts, I’m getting fed up of
hearing myself talk.  The reason why I haven’t posted on Xanga
lately is because it’s becoming a constant thing that words don’t mean
anything to people.

I’m not a prophet, I’m not a genius– I’m someone who simply cares
about humanity.  I am fed up of people using “one man can’t make a
difference” as an excuse to not try.  I am fed up of people saying
“we’re all gonna die, so lets enjoy the ride”.

ENJOY the ride, sure… seize the moment and all that.  But that
doesn’t mean you can live lives irresponsible of your actions and their
consequences on the rest of humanity.  I am on a moral high horse
you might say… but at the very least, I realize it.  I’m trying
to do what I can, and in the meantime, it just takes one guy, one girl,
a few here and there– that’s all it takes to undo a whole lot of work
and to destroy a whole lot of hope.

You know what the difference between an adult a kid is?  A sense of responsability.

The world as we know it is going to hell.  All over the world we
see humanitarian efforts– I’m not even talking the more media
dramatized things like disaster releif, medical research of poverty
fighting.  I mean, the parent who takes that extra hour off
watching the game to read his kid a bedtime story.  Or the family
who takes the time to have supper together.  Or the damned
boyscout who helps the old lady across the street. The small things
anyone and everyone can do.

Does it make a difference? Of course it does, if you notice it, if you appreciate it.

What are you best at?  What do you love doing?

And in the end– how do you use your passion to better the world?

Living is a team sport.  Your teammates are the rest of
humanity.  The team relies on you.  They can let you
down.  You can let them down.  People get hurt.  It’s
very easy to give up.

Who’s the ennemy?  It’s everyone else on the planet who doesn’t give a fuck.  They’re a disease.

But you can’t get rid of them… it’s a particular case where the only
thing you can do is turn them to your side.  They’re on your
team… they just don’t know it.  That’s why they fight you. 
Because complacency and ignorance are easy, because learning about the
important things in life, like a sense of connection to humanity, is
just too burdensome.

A man can master playing a piano– he can become the greatest warrior
in the world– he can be John Lennon or the Pope or a King or even GOD
himself— But if you ask me, it doesn’t mean a bloody thing if you
don’t use your idenity and your abilities for others… what is there?

I’m tired of people who just ‘don’t get it’, and I myself try to figure it out… but I don’t get it.

Sorry, I’m out of breath.

Order today!

   whiz : It does sometimes.  But it shouldn’t.
   whiz : Argh!  Loud TV watching!
   whiz : I think I’ll shower now, so that I can get out of here soon.
   Zanshin : You’re at MIT.  Aren’t there technical solutions?
   whiz : No, it’s a social problem.
  Jinryu : nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a fire extinguisher.
  Jinryu : if a fire extinguisher had a cutting edge, I might say it’s an ultimate all purpose tool.
  Jinryu : well, maybe if it could also set fire to things, cause we might need fire at some point.
   Zanshin : It starts fires!  It puts them out!  It also makes Julienne fries!
   Zanshin : Order today!
  Jinryu : but it’s good for bashing, and extinguishing.
  Jinryu : many things in life can be fixed with these two actions alone… perhaps even including loud televisions.
  Jinryu : you know, i think the concept of arson has nothing to do with setting fires… it has to do with property damage.
  Jinryu : so when you think an arsonist, are you really someone who likes to set fires
  Jinryu : or are you just someone who is getting in trouble because you don’t put them out ?
  Jinryu : if the definition of an arsonist is based on fire-starting, then you could throw all smokers in jail.
   Zanshin : It probably does have something to do with property damage.
  Jinryu : can
you imagine trying to put out a small turkey fire with my fire
extinguisher, only to realize too late that you’ve got the thing on
flamethrower mode?
  Jinryu : i think the trick will be to have large, easy to read labels on the control dial.
   Zanshin : Dogs and Witches.
  Jinryu : so… we can either repell cold, or fire, but not both?
  Jinryu : dear god– so then the fatal flaw is temperate weather!
  Jinryu : you’d be totally helpless in ideal conditions!
[LW]: Laurent_Guest has connected.

The motion of the oceans

So it turns out that some experts are saying “Um… hey.  Wasn’t
the St-Lawrence River a bit higher last year?”  Water level is
expected to be about a meter lower this year than the previous year.

Apparently due to climate changes, the St.L is lower than ever before
and this could mean big problems for everyone.  The price of
shipping boats could go up by 15-40% because of the need to reduce
traffic along the river.  Worse still, an entire meter less of
water means that the water supply of local residents is in jeopardy–
less water means higher filtration costs, and lower water quality in
general.  Overal, not good.

I’ve got my bikes in the garage out from the shed, I just need to put
the wheels on, pump up the tires and tune the brakes.  Then we’re
ready to roll!

And for your information, no I don’t think the warm whether is a good
thing… Planet is heading in the direction of shake ‘n bake if you ask
me, so I’m just chosing my bike because
I don’t need to
ride the bus or a car.  It’s rather ludicrous, if you ask me, to
be paying for a gym membership to run on a treadmill when you could
just get exercise for directly practical reasons too.  (Though,
hipocriticically, I do have a gym membership for badminton courts).

Well anyway, random thoughts.

Go outside today folks, the weather is beautiful in a terrifying greenhouse effect sorta way!

God must love assholes, since he made so many of them

of my coworkers, a nurse, pisses me off sometimes because he’s
constantly complaining about how much work he has to do.  It’s
true, he does have a lot of work.  But I don’t need to hear it
everyday.  I can’t make his workload that much lesser, and I’m not
the guy who is giving out medals of honor for working hard.  So
quit your bitching and get back to work, bitch!

In another life, I should be working on my career by now, not looking
at yet another set of final paper instructions.  I’m getting fed
up with this… I’m more or less convinced I’ve learned everything I
need to learn from university.  And yet here I am, stuck doing
papers. Because I need a stupid peice of worthless paper called a
“University Degree” to get a better job.

This whole setup is such bullshit.

I wonder what it’s like to be done school?

I mean, a lot of people I know are at the ‘career’ stage.  And what do they look forward to?

I go to bed, and I wake up because I’m one day closer to being done
with the routine of education, which just feels like
beaureaucracy.  I already know I can play the game… all they’re
doing is shuffling the blocks a bit.  It’s just another stage of
sokoban– some more tedious than others, but the techniques are still
always the same.

What do other people look forward to?

Sure, there are fun moments, there are times where I do actually learn
something interesting at school.  But I’m being stalled– that’s
all this whole education process is to me.  A big stall.

Mind you, I’m not saying I know everything.  I’m just saying that
I’ve absorbed everything I can possibly want in terms of the techniques
of my field.  From this point on, it’s just an accumulation of
literature– and that isn’t all that useful to me.  I can always
look it up if / when i need it.

In the meantime– I have a semester or two left (I’ll have to consult
with those asswipes at Academic Advising) and frankly I can’t wait to
get on with my life.

To those of you who aren’t in university yet– make sure when you chose
something you go ALL OUT because at some point, you’re gonna loose
momentum like me.  You’ve got to finish before you become
cynical.  Otherwise, every day in a classroom will feel like
you’ve got a ball and chain on you.

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have medium extroversion.
You’re not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your “down time.”


You have high conscientiousness.
Intelligent and reliable, you tend to succeed in life.
Most things in your life are organized and planned well.
But you borderline on being a total perfectionist.


You have medium agreeableness.
You’re generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.


You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed – making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You’ll try almost anything interesting, and you’re constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

Mmmmmm. Synaesthesia sounds totally cool.  If it weren’t for the fact that usually if you want to acheive that kinda state even if just for the fun of it, it may cause you permanant neurological damage.

There are two kinds of experiences you have at a hospital.  Ones where you’re treated well on purpose, and ones where you’re treated badly for whatever reason.

When you are treated well, it takes extra effort on the part of medical and non-medical staff– because the default is to just treat you like another car in the chop shop.  If we are going to be nice to you, it is either because you are exceedingly nice to us, or we are feeling ambitious.  To hell with the hospital’s mission statement about friendly care– if you are overworked the way we sometimes are, you’re lucky we even look at you.

There are situations where patients asking for trouble though, and where patients can take it upon themselves to piss off hospital staff in enough ways to guarantee they get the cold shoulder.

Hosptials aren’t like stores– we don’t have to suck up to you, because we’re not after your money.  We don’t need your patronage, in some sense– if you leave, we can easily fill the bed with someone else.

The other day there was a patient who actually holds the same job title as I do, but at the Jewish General Hospital.  But wheras I’m loggin in perhaps about 9 months at my job, he’s got 30 years as a Unit Coordinator.  He’s a patient on one of the floors I’m coveirng.  Just so happens that the respiratory tech had to take care of something for him, but was a bit busy, so had to put him on a waiting list.  So this patient think’s he’s a smart because he’s worked at a hospital before, and he hooks up the tubing and oxygen and whatnot on his own.  Then, he calls me over, starts complaining to me, telling me it’s my job as a Unit Coordinator to make sure that things like this don’t happen.

Excuse me?

But I gave him the nod nod, yes yes, okay whatever look.  He asked who was the nurse in charge and to see her, so that he could complain to her too. Turned heel when he was stopping for breath.

I told the nurse in charge that there was an asshole in 15-A who wanted to file a complaint against us because we were ‘too slow’ to serve him, and that he went out of his way to fix the problem himself.  This wouldn’t have happened if it was the Jewish General, of course.

Now, if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people who do something just so they can bitch about how they had to go through the trouble of it.  You want to be a martyr?

Hell… If you want to be your own doctor and start treating yourself, stay home!

The doctor was also gritting his teeth at this patient because he was second guessing the doctor’s orders, pretty much asking for a second opinion on everything.

It’s your right to have a second opinion on everything, of course– but you must understand.  We’re not talking about life threatening surgery here.  We’re talking about small things, like urine pills and aspirin.  If you’re trying to be a pain in the ass– well, congratulations 15-A!  No one gives a flying fuck when you ring the service bell, we’re all extra busy whenever you ask.

On the surface, it may seem that ignoring a patient’s complaints is kinda harsh, and that we are ‘in the wrong’.  But the reality of healthcare is that we do the best that we can, and nobody gets extra treatment.  If you’re an ass, certainly, you get ‘special’ treatment– but it’s nothing extra.  Our time is precious– we’re not sounding boards.

In this particular case, we don’t care how you do it at the Jewish General.  We don’t care how many years you’ve worked.  Or how long you’ve been waiting.  Everyone waits. You wait your turn.

I was at the Peel YMCA for the first time in a very long time, and I was reminded of why I had stopped going there in the first place.  It’s too crowded– and though a room full of muscle is what a gym is all about, machismo is another thing.

I had gone to Peel YMCA because that gym, unlike the Chinatown YMCA, has more than one heavy punching bag, and it also has a speedbag (those leg-o-ham shaped baloons mounted on a board to rebound when you hit them).  It has been … how long?  Several years at least since I’ve thrown punches on a heavy bag for more than a few seconds.  I stayed at the Y for about two hours in the room where the bags were mounted.

Started off with stretches and warmups to get my legs working.

Funny thing is that while I was doing this, some huge beefy guy storms into the room.  My guess is that he came in there to impress the girls who were in the room with me… so from the door, he heads straight to the heavy bag, winds up for a huge swing and wham!  Slams his fist into the bag.

Then i see the white of his teeth as he winces, and i see his wrist go a tad crooked.  He may or may not have muttered something in another language.  But my impression is that he hurt his wrist, and he hurt it bad.

And you know, when you pick a fight with the heavy bag, if the heavy bag doesn’t learn it’s lesson with your first super punch, then you fight dirty– you start beating the shit out of his little brother, the speed bag.

Now, the point of a speedbag is more for what it’s name implies– speed.  You have to be fast, you have to be controlled, you have to have a good sense of timing to get that ‘machinegunning’ effect like what you see in the Rocky movies.  It’s not meant to be blasted away– it’s about rhythm.  Speedbag technique isn’t about strength.

But since he lost face to the heavy bag, he starts pounding the crap out of the speedbag– and that’s loud.

So he’s generally making himself obnoxious when an old man comes in.  This old man has got a pair of everlast bag gloves in a dollar-store plastic bag.  He’s wearing those old 70s style sweatsuits with a matching sweatband pulling the hair out of his eyes.  He doesn’t look tough. In fact, he’s got moobs.  But he starts working around the heavy bag, throwing the occasional jab, the straight cross…and i watch his feet.  He’s an old guy, and he’s not strong his hits hardly move the bag at all– but watching his feet– the step and slide, the sidestep, the shuffle, the crouch and cross, the lean, the weave– you know that he knows what he’s doing.

 When the burly idiot steps off from the speedbag for a moment, the old man goes up to it and then just turns it on. I mean, the old man’s fists move in a controlled combine fashion– and in the room, all you hear is the sound of the machinegun rhythm.  I’m remind of hitting continuous sixteenth notes with a double tap each for the ocean-like roll on the snare drums back in marching band.  The old man is making it look easy, and you see that the man’s got rhythm– he’s got focus.

The burly man leaves, without looking back.  For the next minute or so, the old man doesn’t miss a beat.

I laugh to myself.  Look into the mirror, put up my hands, and start to do my drills.

I would have talked to the old man if he hadn’t left while I was on the bag, he made my day.

Untouchable– in a sense.

If someone doesn’t care about something, you cannot hold it against them.

Like, if you were a golfer, and you came up to me and challenged me to golf, and we played, and you kicked my ass, and you said that i sucked big time, would I care?  No, I’m not a golfer.  You won’t bother me at all with a comment like that.

When you play against someone in an artificial scenario, like sparring or badminton, the same rule applies but in a subset sorta way.  Of course, a sparring partner will not want to lose to you– and he will care about winning.

BUT.  There are some ways that disturb an opponent more than others.

For example. Very simplistically speaking.  If your opponent is a grappler, and you’re a kickboxer.  It depends on the individual of course– but, if you beat a grapler by kicking and punching him into submission, he might not care as much as if you beat him at grappling– in a sense the old addage “beat him at his own game”.

Of course if your game and his game aren’t the same, then you probably aren’t skilled enough to do that.

In which case you ‘make him play your game’.

But that’s a whole other subject.

Random preaching (again since I can’t slap humanity in the face)

I cam across this xanga entry and I’m glad SOMEONE NOTICED .

And for my advice of the day–

Absolutes are what get people in trouble.  Follow what Lee said it’s all about : “Having no limitation as limitation”.

means you can better yourself by accepting the possibility that there’s
another way to go about it.  You don’t have to take that road–
you just have to recognize the potential of other roads.  Or, when
someone does something ‘wrong’, you have to understand that they have
their own reasons and situations that made that the easiest choice for

beings are creatures of comfort– meaning, they often do things that
are the easiest in the short term.  And you can’t blame people for

the subject of anything– we must see if the very words and presmises
of what we wish to acheive don’t have presumptions that we’re not
paying attention to.  When we can get beyond the words of our
goals and feel something in an ‘elemental’ sort of way, that’s when we
acheive ‘pure’ goals that are not only easier to obtain, but more
gratifying than goals that are the subject of others’ scales.

aren’t absolute– but we tend to look at them as if they were, because
we’re so used to them that we take forgranted their original intents
and ideals.

the Grouch had some wisdom just by his way of life.  He may have
been overdoing it at times.  But, well– the point is that he
brought to light the fact that certain assumptions of society are just
that– assumptions.

be the better person: don’t just treat your friends as friends. 
Even bad people can have friends.  If you can treat your ennemies
with respect as well, maybe something will rub off.  I’m not
saying go out of your way to stick out your neck, that’s your choice–
i’m saying that needless confrontation is needless.  If you truly
beleive that ‘they are wrong’ and ‘you are right’, you have to
beleive in peoples’ potential for change.

of the prisoner’s dilema.  While the ‘smart move’ is to give up on
your fellow man, it’s not what will save the world.

everything, including what you think you want, who you think you’re
doing it for, and why you think it will make you happy.

is always a tomorrow.  This isn’t an invitation to
procrastination– it is to point out that today can be the best of
everything before it but nothing says that tomorrow cannot be better

Random thoughts

So far, today looks like it’s gonna be a good day.  On the metro
walk up to the university, the guitarist with the open case was singing
“Imagine”– you can call me a sentamentalist, but every time I hear
that song I feel a bit better about things.  The fact that the
song is sung at all nowadays is hope in itself.

I see a kid riding on his dad’s shoulders and I stare for a bit, lost in thoughts.

I have accomplished almost no work in the past few days.  I didn’t
get to play much at RsM on saturday– seems in that sense that I’m a
victim of my own success.  I feel kinda bad for all the people who
were new that day  because where they expected games, they instead
got a lot of sitting time.

Good news is that the negotiations I’m undergoing with the cegep are
going well, so this summer RsM will essentially double in size– we’ll
have 8 courts instead of 4.  Which means no more lineups (at
least, not as many). Begining June 3rd. So let everyone you know know.

My body is starting to ‘decompress’ i think, and I ended up spending
most of my free time during my weekend off as ‘downtime’.  Either
something low intensity, or downright just lying around feeling tired
or sleeping.

I feel refreshsed now that it’s monday, but I also feel clueless since
I effectively haven’t thought a single school related thought since
last thursday.

Hesitation is a bad omen.  Prudence is one thing. Overthinking
situations that have already been thought out though is
pointless.  making a descision doesn’t guarentee a good outcome–
but it gets results.  And sometimes doing something wrong is
necessary education anyway– too often people are too perfectionist to
get anything done, and a logical mind is useless because they only use
it to rationalize stagnancy.

I can live on just bread and cheese for a good amount of meals.

I experimented with a peanut butter and honey sandwhich the other
day.  It was okay, but like most spread sandwhiches, it lacks a
certain kick that only meaty cold cuts can provide.